My father spent a significant number of hours waging war against the local squirrel population in order to gain control of his bird feeders. He fought bravely and determinedly, and eventually lost: after an incident with an angry squirrel loosened in the back of his truck, he decided it wasn’t worth the effort. Relaxation was achieved: the squirrels were allowed to go about their business more or less undisturbed, and somehow life went on as it always was.
All of this came to mind today with the announcement that Nuts, the “Squirrel Watching Adventure,” unveiled at the 2020 Guerilla Collective Showcase, will hit Steam and Itch.io on February 4th.
As a rookie field researcher working deep in the Melmoth Forest, you spend your days placing cameras and your nights studying footage as you track the movements and behaviors of the squirrels in the area: their movement patterns, their hiding places, and more whatever it is that squirrels get up when they think no one is watching. The developers promise an “intimate, haunting story with full voice acting” that includes “bold graphics and foley effects that envelop you in a pulsating forest”.
It all looks and sounds pretty calm, which is kind of like Firewatch, and yet I’m pretty sure there’s more going on here than you think. For one thing, there is an almost throwaway comment in the announcement suggesting that the squirrels are behaving “strangely”. The launch date trailer released today also goes to some unexpected places: Why should a squirrel stash dynamite and matches?
That’s a fair question.
I have no idea where this is all headed, but that kind of bait and switch was also at the heart of Firewatch, and even if it didn’t quite pay off in the end, it was a thrilling summer adventure. I don’t expect nuts to have the emotional intensity or weight of Firewatch (squirrels with TNT gear, really?), But it certainly piqued my curiosity. I want to know what these little rodents are up to.